Aga Zaryan

Aga Zaryan
Gifted vocalist Aga Zaryan conveys the finest of the history of jazz to today’s audiences, continuing the traditions of great artists like Shirley Horn, Carmen McRae and Joni Mitchell.

Aga Zaryan is a producer and lyricist but first and foremost, a highly charismatic artist and personality.

She has been successful in integrating ambitious artistic goals with popular appeal, recording four albums to date, all of which have earned gold, platinum or multi-platinum status in Poland. In 2008 she was honored with the Polish music industry’s most prestigious prize – the Fryderyk Chopin Award.

She was nominated for the title of Woman of The Year 2008 by Gazeta Wyborcza-Wysokie Obcasy, one of Poland’s most influential and widely circulated newspapers.

Aga was also named Jazz Vocalist of The Year in the European Jazz Forum Magazine’s yearly Jazz Top readers’ poll in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

She has appeared in clubs and at festivals in Poland, England, the USA, Germany, Norway, Israel, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Norway, France, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Turkey, Portugal, Russia and Iceland.

Aga Zaryan born January 17, 1976 – is an internationally recognized jazz vocalist of the new generation.

She is known for her distinctive style, class and intimate approach to singing, with a characteristic lightness of phrasing and warm, slightly matte-toned voice.

Early Life:

Aga was born in Warsaw, Poland. Her father being a classical pianist, and her mother an English language educator and author, she travelled widely throughout Europe with her parents early on, spending part of her childhood and attending primary school in Manchester, UK.

In addition to classical works, both of Aga’s parents shared a passion for the music of Stevie Wonder, Weather Report, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, The Beatles, and various other popular artists. This provided Aga with exposure to wide range of contemporary music, starting at an early age.

After returning to Poland from the UK she became involved in playing tennis competitively, and went on to win the Warsaw Tennis Championship at the age of 14.

Musical Beginnings:

While still in her teens, she also developed a passion for music and theatre. After hearing the music of Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis, Aga decided to become a jazz vocalist.

She studied voice at the Fryderyk Chopin Public Secondary School of Music, and attended the Post-Secondary Jazz Studies Program there, graduating with honors.

Aga was awarded scholarships to attend international Jazz workshops on two occasions:

the Stanford Jazz Workshop and Jazz Camp West, both in the United States, where she was able to further develop her vocal skills.

Solo Career:

In 2002, Aga’s debut album “My Lullaby” – recorded with a group that included Tomasz Szukalski, Darek Oles, Michał Tokaj and Łukasz Żyta – was released.

This collection of jazz standards, sung with the backing of a jazz quartet in original and personal interpretations, brought her critical acclaim as one of Poland’s premier vocal talents.

Album was nominated for Jazz Record of the Year.

In 2006, Aga performed at the JVC Jazz Festival in Warsaw, opening for Branford Marsalis, an occasion which enabled her to introduce herself to a wider audience as a great performer and sophisticated jazz vocalist.

Since that time, Aga has appeared in clubs and at festivals in Poland, England, the USA, Germany, Israel, the Czech Republic, Sweden, France, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Turkey, Portugal, Russia and Iceland.

In 2006 the premiere of “Picking Up the Pieces” took place – an album recorded in Los Angeles with a first-rate international line-up of musicians: Larry Koonse (guitar), Munyungo Jackson (percussion), Nolan Shaheed (cornet) and Darek “Oles” Oleszkiewicz (double-bass).

“Picking Up the Pieces” is comprised of a set of eleven songs that tell the stories of women, illustrating their life, emotional and spiritual situations.

Thanks to it’s exceptionally intimate feel, the album was very well-recieved critically and enjoyed great commercial success, becoming a Bestseller which achieved double platinum status.

With the release of “Picking Up The Pieces”, Aga Zaryan established herself not only as one of Poland’s premiere jazz vocalists, but as an artist of international standing.

In early 2007, Aga travelled to the United States for a series of concerts with her American line-up, appearing in prestigious jazz venues such as Joe’s Pub in New York City and Blues Alley in Washington D.C. The concerts were enthusiastically received by the public, with critics across the ocean taking notice of Aga’s talent as well.

“Beauty is Dying”, recorded in the summer of 2007, is Aga Zaryan’s first album on which she sings in Polish. On it she is backed by a jazz piano trio, enhanced by a 17-piece string section with harp and oboe. The album contains nine works by Polish poets, depicting scenes of Warsaw at the time of the ’44 Uprising, selected and sung by Aga to original music composed and arranged by pianist Michał Tokaj. It has been described as lyrical and pulsing with emotion, the delicate string section and laid-back jazz trio melding perfectly with Zaryan’s singing.

A River Of People - A Sea Of Listeners:

On August 4th of that year, a one-of-a-kind concert took place at the Warsaw Uprising Museum in Liberty Park, where Aga performed the material from “Beauty is Dying” with the full lineup of musicians who took part in its recording. The concert was broadcast live on Polish Public TV and Radio, and attendance was so high that traffic in the immediate vicinity of the venue was gridlocked for hours, as a vast and steady river of people converged on the park. The culmination of the event saw over seven thousand people listening to Zaryan’s performance in concentrated silence.

The concert went down in history as somewhat of a sociological phenomenon, in that the audience spanned four generations, with first-hand witnesses to the events it honored in attendance, as well as their great-grandchildren.

“Beauty is Dying” was followed with appearances in prestigious concert halls and venues throughout Europe.

Later in 2008, Zaryan was accorded the Polish recording industry’s highest honors – The Fryderyk Chopin Award – for “Beauty is Dying”, as the year’s the Best Poetic Album.

“Live At Palladium"

This double-CD/DVD album is a recording of one of the concerts that took place at Warsaw’s Palladium Club during Aga Zaryan’s 2008 concert tour, on which she was joined by musicians who flew in from Los Angeles for the occasion. Aga opted for a somewhat atypical and rather delicate-sounding combination of instruments for the project: guitar, double bass, and percussion. The personel were guitarist Larry Koonse, bassist Darek Oleszkiewicz, and Darryl Jackson on various percussion instruments.

The main body of the repertoire was comprised of songs from the albums “Picking Up the Pieces” and “My Lullaby”, some of them with completely new arrangements that took shape over the course of the tour. The recording is recognized as having truly captured the exceptional mood of these concerts, and highlights Aga’s fluid ease in performance. Several of the pieces are sung as duets, to the accompaniment of just double bass.

Album was welcomed as pure jazz, the essence of it.

It was commercial success as well earning triple platinum status!

Aga has finished recordings for her fifth album with her original compositions.


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